STICKY DELIGHTS: Dumpling makers go into overdrive as the Chinese celebrate ‘Duan Wu Jie’ tomorrow
THE quiet surroundings of Jalan 20/5 is no reflection of what goes on inside the Chin household in Taman Paramount here.
Chin Nyuh Kim's single-storey house is abuzz with activities as families celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival or Duan Wu Jie tomorrow.
Chin, 71, is busy making Chinese rice dumplings with her relatives and two friends.
The lip-smacking glutinous rice treats are the main feature of the festival, which is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
Sitting comfortably on a low stool in one corner, Chin is seen busy wrapping an assortment of dumplings.
Stacked neatly beside her are trays of fillings -- red bean, slices of meat, chestnut, mushrooms, mung beans and salted egg yolk.
She reaches out to a stack of bamboo leaves, picks out three, and carefully arranges them before twisting it into the shape of a cone.
Chin then fills it with glutinous rice and fillings and skillfully ties a reed around the dumpling to prevent spillage.
The old hand takes less than 15 seconds to make a pyramid shaped dumpling.
On the opposite corner, are her close friends working equally fast while her relatives prepare the raw ingredients for the dumplings.
There are three large boilers in the porch which is used to cook the dumpling. It takes three hours to cook these dumplings which are tied in bunches before being dropped into the boilers.
The next day, these dumplings are sent to the SS2 market, Puteri Mart in Puchong and family owned stalls in Jalan 223, PJ Old Town and PJ State.
In conjunction with the festival, Chin and her two friends have been working to meet the demands of customers from 7am to 1pm daily, wrapping as many as 600 pieces a day.
During non-festive periods, the trio would make less than 200 dumplings.
"We make varieties such as Nyonya, Cantonese, Hokkien, pork and chicken meat, pillow as well as red bean dumplings. I learnt the art of making dumplings from my aunt 10 years ago and I haven't stopped since. I like making them so that keeps me going," said Chin.
One of her best sellers are the pork dumplings which are filled with a thick slice of the meat, chestnut, mung beans, mushroom and salted egg yolk.
The mother of eight said none of her children are interested to learn how to make the dumpling.
"All of them have their day jobs. Besides, this is hard work. Look at my hands, there are blisters all over my palms from wrapping the bamboo leaves," said Chin, who only stopped working briefly to quench her thirst before resuming work.
In Shah Alam, dumpling maker Chan Yeut Ying, likes to put in lots of filling in the rice dumpling or chang in Chinese, as she believes it brings satisfaction to those who eat it.
"My children's colleagues would remember me every year on Duan Wu Jie as I make them jumbo chang with various stuffing," she said.
Chan will usually stuff mushroom, pork belly, Chinese sausage, salted egg yolk, mung beans, chestnut and lotus seed into the glutinous rice with dried prawns.
"The Chinese sausage is a must-have as it gives the fragrance to the dumpling," she added.
Although she can cook it over a gas stove, Chan said boiling the dumpings over firewood makes them tastier.
She said it takes about three to five hours to cook the dumplings and this also depends on its size.
Chan said her dumplings can only last for two days as she does not add preservatives.
"I make them as I want to prepare the best for my family and friends," she said.
As the 53-year-old is a full-time babysitter, she is only able to take small orders. She sells the adult-fist size dumplings at RM6 each.
"Making chang can be time-consuming, especially in tying it tight to make it really sticky.
"The stickier it is, the better it tastes," she said.
During Duan Wu Jie, Chan's sister Yuet Kiew will help her clean the bamboo leaves.
"I am the only one, out of eight siblings, who knows how to wrap the chang.
"I was 19 when my employer's wife forced me to make the dumplings with 7kg of rice," she recalls of her first experience.
To place an order, call Chan at 016-676 7663 or 03-7846 4217.